Re: [stella] Perfect BIN copy protection

Subject: Re: [stella] Perfect BIN copy protection
From: "Roger Williams" <mer02@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2002 17:00:22 -0800
From: Chad Schell <gamer@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> There is no flaw in the Cuttle Cart's emulation of various ROM and RAM
> modes once switched to that mode.  A cartridge that only has ROM, will
> respond only as ROM.
> The difference lies in the state of the processor flags and the 2600's
> internal RAM.  With a standard cart, when you plug it in and turn on the
> 2600, the RAM will be in a random state.  I'm not certain about the
> processor flags, but I assume they come up in a known state.  The Cuttle
> Cart, in order to properly play the Supercharger games, puts a portion of
> the RAM into a known state when it starts the loaded game.  It also sets
> the processor flags differently than set on a 2600 hard reset.  I provided
> this known state to Thomas and Manuel at their request as they wished to
> able to detect Superchargers and Cuttle Carts and disable them.

Thanks for the clarification, Chad.  I had been given to understand that
there were some control locations that could be buggered by a
supercharger-paranoid game; probably the "unmodified supercharger"
problem you mention.  Or maybe I'm just misremembering something
I thought I read.

Copy protection that depends on the read device to be protection-
compliant is no protection at all.  DeCSS, anyone?

And of course, while not technically superior, the RAM cart would
overcome the "copy protection" problem simply because it wouldn't
be doing as good a job as the CC for those games that need its special
initializations.  Also, as Thomas admitted in a previous post, there
isn't much to be done about people who own ROM burners and
socket carts.

> Manuel apparently does not share my view on
> this however, so I was willing to provide him with the state to look for
> lock out the Cuttle Cart.  However, I asked that he inform people of this
> fact if he did it so that I wouldn't get lots of people saying, "Hey, why
> doesn't this game work."   (However, the Gunfight ROM that's out there
> apparently does not work, and the word of this fact did not get around. -
> Sigh.)

That would royally torque me off, especially if I had gone to the trouble
to have hardware manufactured as slick as the CC.

> Ok, so that last paragraph was a little off topic.  I just wanted to
> correct a technical misconception about the Cuttle Cart.  Also, as I think
> far too much energy is being spent to lock it out, I'll close with this
> hopefully sobering fact.  It would be trivial to load a locked out game
> into the Cuttle Cart, unaltered, in such a way that it would not see the
> Cuttle Cart pattern.  (And this is without altering the Cuttle Cart.)

It's Just Me Dept.:  If it was my project, I'd quietly drop the RAM
init in non-SC modes.  Really, the CC is an emulator itself; instead of
emulating the whole box, it emulates a cart for the box.  And apparently
does a bang-up job. Why let your reputation get hung up on the whims
of some guys who aren't even paying you?  Just a thought.


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